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For the Love of Plants: How Regulations Protect Your Garden

For the Love of Plants: How Regulations Protect Your Garden

It’s no secret that we love plants around this place. Everything that Plant Sentry does is for the love of plants! 

But in some parts of the world loving plants is a secondary task. Too often the regulations set out to keep the very plants we love safe, take a back burner to the threats that surround them.

There’s a lot that goes into protecting different plants and their well being! Did you know that some plants are so harmful that they can’t be in the same environment as other plants?

As a means to try and protect plants from the threat they pose to one another, regulatory officials prohibit and regulate certain plants in certain parts of the country in hopes to protect natural ecosystems.

Much like the efforts of Plant Sentry™, decision-makers keep the threats of invasive plants, pests, and diseases at the forefront of their considerations of what plants are safe, and which ones are not.

So what goes into prohibiting a plant? How do regulators and officials decide which ones are safe and which ones are dangerous? 

In today’s blog, we’re going to find answers to this very question.

Identifying Invasive Relationships

First thing is first when it comes to determining whether or not to prohibit a plant, officials have to determine whether or not the plant is an invasive species. 

Invasive species overcrowd healthy plant populations and suppress their ability to grow successfully.

By prohibiting invasive species regulators and growers are better able to protect current plants from their exposure. Invasive species have costly damages that no one wants to pay.

Identifying invasive species quickly and early can save a whole lot of trouble later on. 

Sometimes growers don’t realize that the plants they’re selling may be invasive. Sometimes, the consumer may not realize the plants they’re buying are invasive.

If you’re unsure what plants are and aren’t invasive to your local environment visit the USDA Invasive Species Information Center.

This site provides access to all 50 states’ lists of invasive species [1]. The more you know about the rules surrounding these species, the better you can protect your garden!

A Negative Attraction

Trying to predict the future and see if something could be prohibited later on? A great way to predict what plants may be up for new regulations is to keep an eye on the pests.

While it is incredibly uncommon, plants can be prohibited or removed from environments simply because an invasive pest really likes them. 

While it most certainly seems unfair to plant lovers, the harsh reality is that without stringent protection from these pests the plants we love would be lost anyway. As a result, many states will either discourage or prohibit the planting of certain species of plants in hopes of starving out the pests.

Before the USDA moved to remove Federal Regulations on the Emerald Ash Borer, states spent millions of dollars combatting it!

Many states kept a watchful eye on the pest, hoping to protect their beloved Ash trees and prevent an invasion of the EAB.

In the state of Nebraska, one action of protection was to discourage the sale and movement of Ash trees within the state. The hopes were to slow down the spread of the invasive pest by limiting their resources. and still, keep the trees within the state.

However, after the damages continued Nebraska decided to remove a lot of the trees. In many parts of the state, the damage has been so extensive that treatment isn’t possible and removal is the only option.

Now, Ash trees in Nebraska are often removed throughout the state in efforts to starve out the EAB and hopefully regrow the Ash trees at a future date.

Keeping a watchful eye on how pests affect plants can give you indications of whether or not you’ll want to purchase these plants for yourself. 

With quarantine federal deregulation, it will be important to keep up with the state by state measures for the EAB that will develop over the next coming years.

To learn more about how you may combat the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive pests visit the USDA’s APHIS page [2].

A-Noxious Behavior

Another category that gets identified in lists of plants that can be prohibited is Noxious Weeds.

Noxious weeds are identified as weeds that are harmful to the environment or animals. In the U.S. each of these weeds participates in the USDA’s APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine Risk Assessment. 

In this program, the APHIS PPQ evaluates each of the species of weed for their abilities to spread, establish, and cause harm to the U.S. environments. The assessments can be conducted for really any reason that may suggest a threat to the U.S.

For many of these plant species, they overcrowd the native plants and radically change the local ecosystems. Many states independently identify Noxious Weeds within their environments and prohibit their sale or distribution within their borders in hopes of preventing their spread and threat. 

To learn more about the plants on this list, and who’s on it visit the APHIS page for Noxious Weeds [3].

Helping Healthy Plants 

While many plants are restricted throughout the U.S., it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still sold or distributed. In the gray area of the Garden Industry, somewhere between not knowing better, and not caring, these plants are still sold to communities nationwide.

As officials continue the uphill battle against these plants, some of the best methods of combat are community education and programs like Plant Sentry™.

Much like the regulatory officials working hard to protect your environments, at Plant Sentry™ we know the damage these plants cause. We know that it takes a community effort to prevent the spread and sale of these species. This is why we work tirelessly to provide our clients with the tools and insights they need to protect themselves from these plants.

Now that you understand a little bit more about why plants get prohibited, we hope that you too will share with your community to help prevent their spread!



Important Resources:

[1] https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/subject/lists

[2] https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases

[3] https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/SA_Weeds/SA_Noxious_Weeds_Program

[4] https://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver

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Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

As the weather continues to warm and the sun stays out longer, fruits and vegetables are growing bigger every day. Which is perfect, because June is National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

While the basis of this month is to focus on the health aspects that fruits and vegetables provide to the human diet. We can’t help but stop to wonder, what determines the health of our fruits and vegetables? And who’s checking up on this?

Piqued Your Curiosity?

Where our produce comes from is commonly related to what store we bought it at and where that store is located. Until the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the concept of how that produce got to the store, was lost on many of the people who ate it. And sure, we know it comes from a farm, and that farmers have to grow it, but where are these farms located? And what are their growing practices? How do I know that the health of their plants is going to mean health for my body?

Finding the Answers

Unless you belong to the farming and gardening industry the idea of plant sourcing may be outside your realm, simply because you don’t see it. But, that’s part of the reason why Plant Sentry™ is here. We exist to safeguard the shipment of plants, and well, fruits and vegetables are plants too. 

So this month, we’d like to help answer some of these questions for you and give you some tools you need to answer these questions for yourself.

Where Do They Come From?

While California leads the U.S. states in domestic agriculture, the other 48 states make sure to do their part when it comes to farming too. 2 million other farms to be exact. While this seems like a lot, and perhaps that it should be enough, what may be surprising about this is that only about 8% of farms market their foods locally [2]. 

Many fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. are only in season for a few weeks out of a calendar year.

The Fruits of Labor After the Seasons Over

Once the U.S. growers finish out their seasons for fruits and vegetables the American consumer doesn’t end their want/need for the produce. Instead, the U.S. market imports fresh fruits and vegetables from all around the world to meet American consumers’ demand.In 2012 it was calculated that roughly 6.9 million metric tons of fruits and vegetables were shipped to U.S. Distribution Centers nationwide. [2]  

So Are They Healthy?

The U.S. market for fruits and vegetables can be divided into 2 categories, fresh and processed. Deciding which market the farmer grows for determines how the produce is grown. If it is grown for the processed market, then the goods will meet the standards of that market. If the produce is grown for the fresh market, then they will adhere to the standards of the fresh market. The USDA monitors both of these markets and lists their standards for both categories here. [4]

When it comes to the health of fruits and vegetables determining their values can be a little bit more challenging, because it requires a closer look. Fruits and vegetable benefits are evaluated by the nutrient density of the good and can vary slightly based on growth conditions. 

The way the food is prepared and handled will also determine the overall nutrient density of the fruits and vegetables. But generally speaking, it is safe to follow the nutritional evaluations of raw fruits and vegetables from the FDA. [1]

Beyond the Label

Unless you’re purchasing goods from a local grower, knowing more finite information about the produce your consuming can be challenging. While the FDA requires the listing of the country on the stickers for fruits and vegetables, beyond that is considered proprietary business information.[5]

The Green Industry Role

In the Green Industry, it can be challenging to find out information if you aren’t on the inside of the situation. When there are disease and pest outbreaks, our government officials often settle for only listing the affected state and not the company name. This is no different when it comes to the agricultural side of things and handling the safety of food.

In order to protect international business relationships, the same standard of discretion is applied to the produce industry. As Americans continue to populate and rely on these resources, it is the utmost responsibility of the government officials regulating these goods to protect not only those eating them but also those who grow them.

The Plant Sentry™ Role

Being a member of the Green Industry can sometimes be challenging. While we at Plant Sentry™ primarily focus on the health of plants and their shipping and restrictions requirements, we know that every piece of the puzzle is important.

How consumers purchase and select their goods plays into the giant game of chess that impacts the availability consumers have. 

This is why we do and encourage everything we can in shipping and compliance of regulations to help growers be successful so that consumers can keep their variety.



  • Citations
    1. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/nutrition-information-raw-fruits-vegetables-and-fish
    2. Fast Facts About Agriculture & Food. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts
    3. Fischetti, M. (2013, September 1). U.S. Demand for Fruits and Vegetables Drives Up Imports. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/us-demand-for-fruits-and-vegetables-drives-up-imports
    4. Grades and Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards
    5. Grossman, E. (2014, September 24). Want to find out where your fruit was grown? Good luck. Retrieved from https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/fruit-veggies-produce-origins-trade-secret/

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    Green Industry Vital to Wellness

    Green Industry Vital to Wellness

    Looks like Spring 2020 will be one to remember. It is never easy when something like COVID-19 comes at you so fast.

    These unprecedented times are filled with uncertainty. In order to keep moving forward and successfully navigate these coming days, people are taking extra precautions. New adjustments are being made.

    Getting Through This with Hardworking Teams and Positive Mindsets

    Plant Sentry™ aims to maintain quality at its peak. Cleanliness has always been a major key to the health of our crops. The many protocols we have in place ensure the utmost success in helping companies and consumers keep plants healthy and free from unwanted pests, diseases, and invasive species.

    We take pride in helping safeguard plant shipments through every step so that both businesses and consumers triumph.

    We are proud to serve such a passionate industry that continues to spread joy from door to door. 

    People Will Turn to the Green Industry to Feel Better

    In times of chaos, plants have proven to be some of the best therapy. In the coming days, more Americans will stay closer to home, and they will certainly be looking for things to do around the house.

    Plants do not simply enhance the beauty of our surroundings. Equally important, they offer an outlet to escape the nearby negativity, and at the same time, give people a sense of peace and serenity.

    As we in the industry know, those small moments with nature are crucial to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul.

    Get the Message Out That There is No Better Time to Plant

    Whether it be inside or out, plant therapy is not a once in a lifetime activity. Rather, it can be an important part of each day or week.

    In times such as these, planting safely is more important than ever, and there are plenty of ways to go about it.

    For businesses, teaming with Plant Sentry™ will most certainly help conquer the toughest challenges. The processes we use can help keep business doors open, allowing companies to ship plants locally and nationwide in a compliant manner.

    For consumers, purchasing verified, healthy plants from such businesses will encourage safe and satisfying planting.

    To all, keep planting America with Plant Sentry™ at your side. Let’s not only enjoy the beauty that plant products have to offer but appreciate the healing effect that planting also has.

    As one final note, it is critical to mention that our team at Plant Sentry™ goes above and beyond to stay up-to-date with the regulatory environment, providing a level of certainty we need.

    Impacts like COVID-19 often bring out the best in our industry. We continue to push through these challenges to better our environment and serve all of you. 

    Best regards,

    The Staff at Plant Sentry™